Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 1, 2020

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 10:14-17.

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?  And how will they hear without a preacher?  How will they preach unless they are sent?  Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”

However, they did not all heed the good news;  for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?”  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”  Romans 10:14-17.

——————–

“How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  Isaiah 52:7.

Is it good news of happiness for a preacher or teacher to preach and teach that salvation is dependent on man and man’s alleged free-will and works?

Or, is it good news of happiness for a preacher or teacher to preach and teach that salvation is dependent on God Who reigns?!”

For those who believe that it is good news of happiness for a preacher or teacher to preach and teach that salvation is dependent on man and man’s alleged free-will and works, Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?”

“He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”  Isaiah 53:3.

Reformed Doctrine, which understands man’s natural condition of “Total Depravity”, knows the problem is man.

“10 as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”  Romans 3:10-12.

“… you were dead in your trespasses and sins,”  Ephesians 2:1.

Reformed Doctrine knows that God’s “Irresistible Grace” is needed in order for man to believe.

“… “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  John 6:29.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;  and I will raise him up on the last day.”  John 6:44.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof.

Article 11.  But when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God;  but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man;  he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens;  from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable;  actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.

Article 12.  And this is the regeneration so highly celebrated in Scripture, and denominated a new creation:  a resurrection from the dead, a making alive, which God works in us without our aid.  But this is in no wise effected merely by the external preaching of the gospel, by moral suasion, or such a mode of operation, that after God has performed his part, it still remains in the power of man to be regenerated or not, to be converted, or to continue unconverted;  but it is evidently a supernatural work, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful, astonishing, mysterious, and ineffable;  not inferior in efficacy to creation, or the resurrection from the dead, as the Scripture inspired by the author of this work declares;  so that all in whose heart God works in this marvelous manner, are certainly, infallibly, and effectually regenerated, and do actually believe.  –  Whereupon the will thus renewed, is not only actuated and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence, becomes itself active.  Wherefore also, man is himself rightly said to believe and repent, by virtue of that grace received.  

Thus, as shown by the foregoing Canons of Dordt, there are two major parts that are needed for someone to have faith.  First, God “causes the gospel to be externally preached” to His elect.  Second, God “works in them true conversion”.  God’s Spirit “pervades the inmost recesses of the man;  he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens;  from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable;  actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.”

You can sum these two major parts of preaching and regeneration into their source:  the “word of Christ”.

And, you can sum faith and hearing into their source:  the “word of Christ”.    

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”  Verse 17.

In Isaiah’s language, the “word of Christ” “brings good news of happiness”, “announces salvation”, and “says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

The “word of Christ” has gone out to the ends of the earth.

“2 The LORD has made known His salvation;
He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”  Psalm 98:2-3.

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  Matthew 24:14.

The “word of Christ” accomplishes salvation for God’s elect.

“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:11.

“and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 2:4-5.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation …”  Romans 1:16.


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